PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — Dozens of employees at Evermore Park in Pleasant Grove were laid off this week after it was decided there would be no winter-themed production, as well as other financial issues largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evermore is an "experience park" themed as a fantasy European-style village. According to its website, the inaugural "Vinterlume" winter season was planned for the time between its holiday and spring seasonal productions.
In an email obtained by FOX 13 that was sent to some employees Thursday, management wrote that they decided it was best to dedicate the park's "limited resources" on other events and projects and not go forward with a winter production.
"This means that we are going to be cutting back and even eliminate operations for the majority of our departments," part of the email read.
The park said that some employees will continue in their specific jobs.
"We hope that these steps we are taking will help us to move forward in the right direction so that Evermore will be able to not only survive but thrive in the future," human resources wrote in the email.
FOX 13 spoke to Ken Bretschneider, the founder, who said the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a massive toll on the park.
Evermore lost more than $1 million due to the pandemic, including a 3-4 month complete shutdown, Bretschneider said. However, they had also experienced financial issues before it hit.
About 50-60 employees were laid off due to the canceling of the winter show, he said, but other departments were also impacted. As a startup, Bretschneider said they simply weren't bringing in enough revenue to do everything they wanted to do.
He added that the decision was made last-minute because they were expecting another Paycheck Protection Program loan that has not yet come through.
Bretschneider said he is unsure what the future of the park looks like. They're hoping to recoup for summer shows.
"I'm going to miss my extended family a lot. I really loved that job," said Alyssa Holbrook, an Evermore makeup artist who was laid off. "It was such an amazing opportunity to have — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity... It's very heartbreaking, but I hope to see it flourish one day."